Bible's teaching on the Trinity

To better understand why this question is asked repeatedly, Christians should understand some history of the beginnings of Islam. By the seventh century the Christian Church, especially in Arabia, had drifted far from doctrinal purity and spiritual vitality. Among pagans, there was a great deal of polytheism (worship of more than one god) and this incensed Muhammad. The strongest thrust of his message was that man must worship one true God. To a Muslim, even suggesting that God can be divided or to say someone can be equal with God is to commit “shirk,” which is the worst possible sin-blasphemy.

Some of the so-called “christians” Muhammad encountered practiced Mariolatry. This may have led to the mistaken belief that Christians believed Mary to be a part of the Trinity. The Qur’an always speaks of Jesus as the son of Mary. In Sura 4:171 we read, “Oh people of the book,… Christ Jesus the son of Mary was an apostle of God and His word….”  Muslims, Christians, and Jews state in their creed that they worship the one true God — the Creator, Ruler, and Judge of the universe, who revealed himself to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and other prophets. The unity of God is fundamental, yet Muslims and Jews feel that Christians have compromised this belief through the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

False teachers confused Muhammad into thinking the Trinity included Mary

Christians need to understand the sincerity and force of the feeling Muslims have concerning this. There are many differences in belief systems among Muslims around the world, but the belief and practice of the declaration that “God is One” is a daily ritual worldwide. For 13 centuries, this emphasis has not lessened.

In answering Muslims, one must understand that Islam is a very practical and reasoned religion. This is part of the problem. To understand the Trinity through human reasoning is a futile exercise. An infinite God cannot be understood by finite people. Muslims freely admit that God is beyond human reasoning; God is transcendent and unfathomable. As one Muslim stated, Allah cannot be comprehended. He comprehends us. We are His slaves who only have the privilege to worship Him in fear.

When once discussing the question of the Trinity with a Muslim scholar, I said, “Do you agree that God is all powerful and is so great that if He wished, He could reveal himself to man in a hundred different ways?” My friend answered in the affirmative. I then said, “Please, my friend, though it is a mystery, let us accept by faith that God who is one is also ‘three in one’.” Faith in His word is the key.

Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, had a false concept of the Trinity.  Christians do not believe that Mary is included either.

In her book entitled In the Family of Abraham, Anne Cooper wrote, “The ability of human beings to reason logically is a very precious gift. It is one of the major factors which distinguish us from animals. At the same time the ability has parameters and this must be recognized. Man cannot fully explain himself; he cannot explain the mystery of his own tripartite nature, how his body, mind, and spirit react together to make an integrated whole. How then can he dare to presume to dissect the nature of the great power so infinitely above and beyond him? We must reject any attempt to prove religious mysteries by reason.”

The Holy Bible says, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:33,34).

 “Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).

In a previous article we established that the Bible is the unchangeable Word of God. Therefore, we need to look very carefully at what it says in order to answer this very important question. Jesus Christ himself said that the first commandment is: “The Lord our God, the Lord is one ” (Mark 12:29). To be a follower of Jesus Christ is to believe in the unity of God.

God, speaking through His prophet Isaiah, said, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God” (Isaiah 45:5). Every follower of Jesus Christ must believe in the unity of God; otherwise he or she is not a true follower. The very thought that God had a physical relationship with Mary and produced a son is absolutely repugnant to Christians.

On the other hand, followers of Jesus Christ have come to know God: 1) as a loving heavenly Father who loves mankind; 2) as a redeeming Savior who shows the way to God; and 3) as a quickening Spirit who gives comfort, guidance, and power in this life.

Persian art from Muhammad's time depicting an idolatrous Trinity. No wonder he was confused about this

To better answer the question “Why do Christians worship three gods?,” we should try to understand who God is. Both Muslims and Christians agree that no man has seen God. It would be amusing, if it not so tragic, to listen to people who cannot put God in a test tube and analyze Him declare there is no God, or that “God is dead.” What foolishness! The Bible says, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God'” (Psalm 53:1). But the real quest of life is to come to know and understand God’s nature— what God is really like—and then find the way to know Him personally and intimately.

The prophet Isaiah was one of many prophets who spoke of the coming of Jesus and what this would mean in helping mankind understand who God is. The prophet Isaiah said, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). The meaning of that name, Immanuel, is “God with us,” or “God revealed to us.”

So we ask, “Who is God?” We would have to say He is unknowable, unreachable, incomprehensible apart from Jesus Christ who was sent to man as Immanuel, God revealed to man. This explains Jesus’s answer to His disciples when they asked Him how to find the way to God (which should be remembered is the ultimate question of mankind): “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The follower of Jesus would answer the question “What is God really like?” by saying that a person cannot really know God except he first knows Immanuel. It is Immanuel who introduces mankind to a loving heavenly Father. It is Immanuel who demonstrates this unfathomable love.

Only Immanuel is without sin. No other man ever lived who did not sin; all of us have sinned. This Immanuel has power over all sickness, even over death. No man in the history of the world had this power. This Immanuel has power to forgive sins. No man has ever dared to even say he had power to forgive sins. So through Immanuel we have a trustworthy testimony of who God is.


CREDIT: Excerpted from the booklet Questions Muslims Ask by Delmar Kingsriter.

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